Scottish architectural practice with 24 staff switches to employee ownership

A Scottish architectural practice with 24 staff that works with community groups, housing associations and local authorities has become an employee-owned business.

Camerons Strachan Yuill Architects (CSY Architects) has undergone the change thanks to a loan from ethical lender Triodos Bank UK, alongside support from Co-operative Development Scotland and employee ownership specialist Co-ownership Solutions.

The firm has established an employee ownership trust which will become the controlling shareholder of the business and allow the 24 staff, who work across offices in Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Berwick and Galashiels, to collectively take ownership of the company for their long-term benefit.

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CSY Architects has a wide range of projects in its portfolio, including work with community groups, housing associations and local authorities. The business was recently formed through the unification of three existing practices – Camerons Architects, Douglas Strachan Architects and Bain Swan Architects.

A contemporary extension in Edinburgh designed by CSY Architects. Picture: Ross Campbell

Douglas Strachan, joint managing director at CSY, said: “As a practice, we are committed to a local service for the communities that we serve. We believe that it is not only what we do through our work that is important, but also how we do it.

“By transitioning to an employee ownership trust, we’re ensuring that our values remain at the heart of everything we do. This enables the whole team to pursue a positive ethos of shared endeavour, valuing everyone’s contribution and sharing in the success of the practice.”

Fellow managing director Gavin Yuill added: “It is brilliant to be working with Triodos Bank, which shares our commitment to working for a better world and is supportive of employee ownership models.”

Rob Keegan, regional manager for Scotland at Triodos Bank UK, said: “As a bank focused on supporting sustainable business models, we see employee ownership as a tool to empower those within a company and to support their wellbeing.

“In addition, because employee-owned organisations are inherently transparent, they have a strong commitment to positive impact and an active involvement in the communities in which they operate. It is great to be involved in this transition for CSY Architects and we look forward to following the next phase of the organisation’s journey.”

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